“Aaron, I need to hire an assistant.”
There’s nothing wrong with hiring an assistant.
In fact, an assistant is usually one of the first hires that business owners make.
Here’s how you go about it.
Start With Why
Start with WHY you want to hire an assistant.
To help get things done?
To free up your time for higher-value activities?
For the ego boost of having an assistant?
I say HECK YES.
If hiring an assistant makes you feel “like a boss” and moves you into the mindset of owning a business instead of being a glorified technician, then yes, hire an assistant.
What Kind of Assistant Do You Want (And Need)?
Working out why you need an assistant is the easy part.
The hardest part is working out what kind of assistant you want and actually require.
I always recommend starting with a job scorecard for any kind of hiring.
This lets you outline the expectations, role, and duties and the skills required for this particular hire.
An “assistant” is usually one of three types in a small business:
- A “specific jobs” assistant.
- A general assistant/virtual assistant/executive assistant.
- A hidden ops-manager-in-training, i.e., someone who can do your work for you.
Let’s look at each of these.
1. The Specific Jobs Assistant
The specific jobs assistant is really a freelancer.
You CAN hire a general virtual assistant for this role, but they will need training — usually more trouble than it’s worth.
These “specific jobs” are not difficult in nature, and can include:
- Updating and managing social media.
- Data entry of any sort.
- Light graphics work (think: Canva).
This person will be part-time or hourly. Full-time is not suitable for this type of assistant.
Hourly is mercenary. It can be fine for “once and done” work, but it is hard to instil any sense of loyalty or company values when you are paying someone by the hour for a specific task.
Part-time is where it becomes interesting.
There are plenty of freelancers out there who would LOVE to work part-time with you.
This is typically a remote arrangement with no set hours, where they guarantee a portion of their time, and are free to take on other work as they wish.
The great thing about this is that the part-time role can grow into a full-time role, over time.
The best place to find a specific jobs assistant is your network or a job marketplace like Upwork.
To hire them, start with a job scorecard, and interview them at least once.
You do not need to run a full hiring process unless you want to go into detail for a part-time hire.
2. General Assistant
A general assistant is also sometimes known as a virtual assistant or executive assistant.
This person can be part-time or full-time.
I strongly recommend handing them both personal AND professional duties.
I also recommend that this person be located in the same city as you. They will work remotely most of the time, but will meet with you in-person every now and then.
They will need to be trained in all your business apps and tools.
They will start helping with your lowest value administrative tasks, then take on more over time.
But you must also recognise their limits — they are not an operations manager. They can magnify your capabilities, but not replace them.
Some office tasks you can give them:
- Social media management.
- Meeting agenda preparation and management.
Some personal tasks you can give them:
- Making calls on your behalf.
- Research for purchases.
The best place to find this person is through your personal network. Ask friends. Ask clients. Ask family. Ask anyone you know in person. Post on your socials.
The next best place is an in-country or in-city job board.
The last option is a virtual assistant placement company, but be sure to check what their billing model is first.
I do not recommend broad job platforms like Upwork for finding a general assistant.
As this is usually a full-time role, I recommend running the complete hiring process when bringing this person onboard.
3. Ops Manager In Training
The last kind of “assistant” I jokingly call the Hidden Ops Manager In Training.
This is because what frequently happens is that business owners make a hire, then start to hand more and more of their duties over to their assistant, until the point where the assistant is running the business.
It is better and more purposeful if you decide from the outset to hire an ops manager and then proceed in that direction.
They don’t have to be titled an “ops manager”, but that is the intention for bringing them onboard.
This person will do a number of your duties:
- Sales support.
- Tech tasks.
- Systems tasks.
- Office tasks.
- All the annoying parts of what you currently do.
The best place to find them are:
- Your current team.
- Your network.
- Job boards.
You will want to run the full recruitment process if you are hiring them as an operations person from the outset.
What Qualities Should Your Assistant Have?
Your assistant should share similar core values to you and the business, and you should be able to communicate well with them.
Beyond that, if you want to know what qualities an Ops Manager in training should have, grab my Qualities of a Great Ops Manager guide here:
I’ll also outline a full list of tasks that you can hand to your general assistant to help you with.
What To Do Next
Grab my guide to the Qualities of a Great Ops Manager above.
Then decide what kind of assistant you want, and hire them!
If you need specific help with hiring an assistant, the best way is to book a Business Therapy session with me.